1994 Explorer Sport Transmission Swap (Standard-to-automatic) Questions | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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1994 Explorer Sport Transmission Swap (Standard-to-automatic) Questions

9194 Sportman

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Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Explorer Sport
Hello forum friends,

I own an all-original 1994 Explorer Sport, two-wheel-drive, 4.0L, 5-speed (Mitubushi I believe), 8.8 drum brake rear w/3.27:1 open differential, Air Conditioning, power windows & locks, White with Flat Black bottom & all the factory side cladding. I just rebuilt the complete front suspension (Spindles, rotors, wheel bearings, seals, calipers, Pads, Ball joints, shocks, Tires & Alignment) and upgraded to the 1995-97 Ranger spindles and dual piston caliper set-up.
This Explorer Sport was sold new from Galpin Ford in Los Angeles.

My wife & I love the vehicle but she cannot drive the standard and would love it more if it were automatic.

I would like to keep this SUV but as the useful life of the clutch draws to a close, I would like to determine whether a swap to a factory automatic is reasonable or just too much work to be worth the effort & expense?

Can anyone offer me information about such a swap, and, if it can be done reasonably, what parts I need to salvage from another similar Explorer or 4.0L Ranger? What years are my target vehicles to get the parts (computer/, harness?, tranny?, crossmember?, drive shaft?, steering column, etc?)???

With many thanks in advance,
Pete
 
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Jason94sport

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02 Sport 2WD 5 speed
It can be done, but it not a simple DIY. Find a complete 94 4X4 donor with all parts. But your better off buying a auto & selling the manual.
 
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natenkiki2004

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Try to find a 1991-1994 2wd Explorer at a junkyard and nab anything you think you might need.

Aside from the trans itself, you'll likely need an ECM (wiring harness too maybe?), starter, steering column...

It's really a lot of work just thinking about the parts you'll need. But if you did all the front suspension work yourself, it might be a larger project that you can tackle.
 
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RangerX

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I would add that the auto trannys were and are the weak link in the first gen Explorer. If you found a used one, it would not last much longer. Rebuilds seem to be hit or miss.
The manual trans is tough and long lasting (except for the slave cylinder).
I suggest teaching your wife to drive a stick. Everyone can learn, and it would be so much easier than a conversion.
 
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Josh P

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1991 aerostar
The A4LD is marginal at best compared to the manual transmission. The crossmember in your explorer will work with the automatic as is. I'd find a floor shifter from a ranger, bronco II or an aerostar with an A4LD, that would save you from having to convert to a column shifter. You can get a brake pedal from a 91-94 explorer. You can remove the bar on the pedal bracket and swap pedals instead of swapping the entire bracket. The donor will have a jumper that goes in place of the clutch pedal position sensor, snag it. You will need to get an automatic transmission wiring harness, it plugs into the main engine harness at the back of the engine, easy to replace. I'm sure I'm forgetting something else needed..... What do you consider reasonable price? I swapped a manual in my van for $600 and had most of it done in a day, probably could swap the other way for about the same. The major expense will be the price of the transmission itself, everything else could be found at a self service junk yard pretty cheap.
 
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9194 Sportman

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1994 Explorer Sport
Thank you to all who contributed.

I was aware of most of the component swap you mentioned (ECM, harness, pedals, column, trans X-member, etc) but the overall scope of the task was in question as well as any "surprises" that come along with this task.
I've decided to 'hold' on the task because I cannot find a 2WD Explorer with an automatic to scab the harness, ECM and other related parts. Maybe a 4.0L/auto 1st Gen Ranger (maybe 1992) would be a close option for these parts but I need to do some checking first.

Thanks again.
 
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Frank1669

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1991 Explorer XLT
Hi Pete depending on your budget /skill level 1 more option for you to consider would be to swap in a GM 700r4 Tranny. much stronger than the factory ford unit, and has more aftermarket support. I would be leery of using a junk yard auto tranny with out rebuilding it first.
 
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2stroke

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I'd never swap an A4LD in place of the Mazda manual. I've seen kits for swapping to a 700R4, and being a 2x4, you won't have to deal with the whole chevy passenger side transfer case mess. I'd go that route, or teach how to drive it as is. The only downside of the M5OD is the tall first gear. The 700R4 is all mechanical. If I am remembering right, all you will need to do is delete the neutral safety switch, and splice in a new reverse light plug. I'm guessing the kit has some kind of way to attach the TV cable to the throttle. Then it's just a matter of having a driveline shop modify your drive shaft.
 
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